By Stanley Goldberg
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Extra info for Albert Einstein and the creative act : the case of special relativity
Kepler, Galileo, and Huygens, to name only Newton's most distinguished predecessors in this respect, had already firmly established this characteristic of modern science. With them, however, mathematical description had been confined to ideal entities and systems, and they had avoided or ignored the complications of physical reality. When Galileo brought up the question of friction, for example, he asserted that "no firm science" is possible in regard to such factors "which are variable in infinitely many ways.
The book then closed with a long essay on comets which failed to reduce any observed comet to a conic orbit. In fact Book II of De motu corporum never existed in the form I NEWTON'S DEVELOPMENT OF PRINCIPIA 37 have just described. Even before he completed it, Newton began to transform it. He cancelled the paragraph on the tides before he had had time to compose the following ones, and for it he substituted a greatly expanded treatment substantially identical to that in the published Principia. In the manuscript we can see the analysis take shape before our eyes.
Principia, p. 397. NEWTON'S DEVELOPMENT OF PRINCIPIA 43 21. King's College, Cambridge, Keynes MS 133, p. 10. 22. Galileo, Two New Sciences, trans. Stillman Drake, (Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1974), p. 225. 23. This anecdote appeared in French (en y pensant sans cesse) as a note to Voltaire's Elemens de la philosophic de Newton in the so-called Kehl edition of his Oeuvres (17851789). There is some reason to think that the note rested on Voltaire's authority and that the story derived from his stay in England.
Albert Einstein and the creative act : the case of special relativity by Stanley Goldberg